The stories of the treatment of American military personnel during the days of Viet Nam by some of their own countrymen still disgustingly resound today. These days, some are trying to top that distastefulness by targeting loved ones left behind in a far more ominous manner.
Military police are investigating a cruel hoax in which a man wearing an Army dress uniform falsely told the wife of a soldier that her husband had been killed in Iraq.
Investigators are trying to determine why the man delivered the false death notice and whether he was a soldier or a civilian wearing a military uniform.
“We’re taking it extremely seriously. Whatever motivation was behind it, it was a sick thing to do,” said Fort Stewart spokesman Lt. Col. Robert Whetstone.
Well, yes, it is quite a horridly sick thing to do. The obvious question, however, is simply this — are we dealing with a sick person delighting in inflicting distress or a sick person taking delight in a similar manner but also with a political motive?
Last month, 19,000 soldiers from the Fort Stewart-based 3rd Infantry Division deployed for their second tour of duty in Iraq. At least eight division soldiers have been killed since then.
Fort Stewart officials would not identify the Army wife who reported to military police that a man posing as a casualty assistance officer came to her door February 10.
“Right off the bat, she noticed some things were not right,” Whetstone said. “The individual’s uniform wasn’t correct — there were no markings or name tags. Plus, the person was alone, and she knew one person does not make (death) notifications.”
Whetstone said no similar hoaxes have been reported.
When the 3rd Infantry first deployed to Iraq for the 2003 invasion, some Fort Stewart families reported receiving phone calls from pranksters saying their soldiers had been killed.
I just wanted to point out that it is my opinion that the reporter is taking serious liberties with the concepts of hoaxes and pranks. The bastard didn’t throw toilet paper into trees — he played on the deepest of fears of those with loved ones in harm’s way.
This time around, troops and their spouses got pre-deployment briefings that included detailed explanations of how death notices work. Two soldiers, including a chaplain, in dress uniform always arrive to tell the family in person. The Army never makes notifications over the telephone.
Fort Stewart spouses have been spreading news of the latest hoax, said Army wife Michelle Dombrowski, who received an e-mail more than a week ago reporting the incident.
“I can’t believe that someone would do that,” said Dombrowski, whose husband, Staff Sgt. Joe Dombrowski, is deployed with the 3rd Infantry. “I know the protocol, though.”
Military police described the suspected hoaxer as being 6-feet, 1-inch tall and about 180 pounds with black or brown hair and a pale complexion. He was reported to be driving a blue or green pickup truck with chrome wheels, oversized tires and a Georgia license plate.
Feel free to go check the CNN article for a police sketch of this demented punk. Apparently, blue-star wives and families should be on the lookout for a tall, narrow-eyed version of E.T.